NOTE### - any date in PINK and BOLD is an event pre-NASCAR - but is associated to bringing about the sport of NASCAR
1950 - Located in Vernon, NY, Vernon Speedway would host it's final Cup race. The track only hosted two Cup events, both of them in 1950. Dick Linder would claim the pole, and jump out to lead the first 30 laps. Herb Thomas led the next 40 laps before Linder would pass him and hold on to claim the win by 5 car lengths over Ted Swaim. It was Swaim's best career finish. Lloyd Moore would finish third, Tim Flock fourth, and Jack Reynolds fifth. This would be Speedy Thompson's first start. He would go on to finish 21st.
1967 - With several of the top racing officials from Ford Motor Co. looking on, Richard Petty continues his phenomenal winning streak by taking the Wilkes 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Petty scores his record-shattering 10th consecutive victory, a feat that might never be topped.
1927 - Paul Goldsmith's birthday
1949 - Here at Heidelberg Raceway in Pittsburgh PA, Lee Petty would claim his first Cup win. This was the initial season for the Cup series, and the fifth ever race. Al Bonnell would win win the pole, but fall out before the first lap was compete. He did relieve his teammate later in the race, and drive that car to a 10th place finish. Petty would claim the win, with Dick Linder wheeling his Kaiser to second place. Bill Rexford was third followed by Sam Rice, and Sara Christian. This would be the first top five finish for a woman in the Cup series, and to date still is as of 2017. This would be the first start for Lloyd Moore. He would have a great run finishing sixth.
1987 - Ricky Stenhouse's birthday
1996 - On this date we lost innovative and highly successful car builder Banjo Matthews. He is best known for having constructed (with the assistance of Holman Moody in his first car building years) many cars in the 1970s and 1980s, including 72% of the winning cars in the top NASCAR division from 1974 to 1985. He died from complication of heart and respiratory disease; He was 64.
2005 - Here at Talladega Super speedway Dale Jarrett would collect his final career Cup win. The race saw 51 lead changes among 20 different drivers. A late race spin extended the race two laps, sending the race into a green/white/checkers. Matt Kenseth led at the white flag, but Jarrett swept by Kenseth to take the lead before before Kyle Petty crashed on the last lap, ending the race under yellow with Jarrett leading. Stewart also got by Kenseth to finish second, and Kenseth came home third. Ryan Newman was fourth with Carl Edwards fifth. Here is the Talladega 500 Finish
1958 - The Cup series would make only one visit to the 1/2 mile dirt track in Bloomsburg, PA. The speedway saw Jim Paschal win the pole in the 200 lap race. Paschal would have mechanical problems, and finish 16th. Herb Thomas would take the win with Dick Rathman second, followed by Buck Baker, Elton Hildreth and Bob Welborn making up the top five. This would be Hildreth's best career finish.
1965 - This date in the Wilkes 400 held at North Wilkesboro Speedway would see Junior Johnson claim his final Cup win as a driver. Fred Lorenzen won the pole and led the first 190 laps, but his motor expired and he was out of the event after 219 laps. Johnson led 204 of the final 210 laps to cruise to a two lap victory. Cale Yarborough was the only other driver to lead a lap came home second, with Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, and Curtis Turner making up the top five. Johnson would claim 13 wins in the 1965 season, but since he only ran 36 of the 55 races in the season he only finished 12th in points. Johnson never finished in the top five in points as a driver, but he did collect 50 Cup victories.
1969 - Max Papis' birthday.
1993 - North Wilkesboro Speedway would be the site of John Andretti's first career Cup start. He would start 31st, and finish 24th. Ernie Irvan won the pole with Ricky Rudd joining him on the front row. The race saw 8 different leaders over the first 159 laps. On lap 160 Rusty Wallace took the lead, and would 181 laps to claim the win by just over one second. Dale Earnhardt Sr finished second with Irvan, Kyle Petty, and Rudd making up the top five. Terry Labonte would finish seventh, this being the final top 10 finish for car owner Billy Hagan.
2004 - Here at Talladega Superspeedway in 2004, Ricky Craven would make his final career Cup start. Craven would start 20th, but have a finish of 30th. "Front Row" Joe Nemecheck would win the pole, as Ricky Rudd lined up beside him. The race featured 48 lead changes at the start finish line, but many other around the track. Many times a driver would only lead one lap before being passed by another driver that only led one lap. In fact there was only two times when a driver led more than 13 consecutive laps. As the race wound down there was six lead changes over the last 14 laps. Coming to the line Dale Earnhardt Jr was able to eek out the win by 1/10 of a second over Kevin Harvick. Dale Jarrett finished third, followed by Brendan Gaughan, and Kurt Busch. 26 cars finished on the lead lap. For his career Craven was one of the driver to win in all three NASCAR series. He was the 1992 Xfinity Rookie of the Year, and the 1995 Cup Rookie of the Year. While practicing for the inaugural Interstate Batteries 500, Craven crashed hard into the wall. He missed two races due to a concussion suffered from the wreck. After the 1998 season started, the side effects of the concussion began to appear, and Craven was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, and was forced to miss several races until he recovered. At the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway, he battled Kurt Busch for the win, defeating him by .002 seconds in what was voted in December 2009 as the Finish of the 2000's in the Cup Series. That race he became the last-ever person to win in a Pontiac. Craven spent the next few years looking for a part-time ride, but none came through. He eventually retired and has since worked for ESPN and Yahoo! Sports as a NASCAR analyst. Craven raced in 278 CUP events, and collected two wins. He had 15 million dollars in the Cup series. He ran 142 races in the Xfinity series and collected four wins, and was second in the points in 1993 and 1994. In the Truck Series he ran 26 events winning once. Here is the finish of the race
1970 - Legendary NASCAR driver Curtis Turner perishes in a private plane crash in Pennsylvania.
1987 - The Holly Farms 400 would see Slick Johnson make his final Cup start. This would also be the first Cup start for Hut Stricklin. Johnson would start the race 29th, but he'd have motor failure after only 11 laps and finish last. Stricklin would start 24th, and crash out on lap 207 finishing 28th. Bill Elliott won the pole with Darrell Waltrip starting to his outside. Elliott would lead the first 39 laps before being passed by Dave Marcis. He spent just 6 laps at the point before Dale Earnhardt Sr took the lead away and headed the field for the next 133 circuits. Terry Labonte would take the lead from Earnhardt and lead the final 207 laps. Earnhardt finished second, with Elliott third, Morgan Shephard fourth, and Geoff Bodine fifth. For his career Johnson ran only 68 events over an 8 year span, never running more than 18 races in a season. He posted seven top 10 finishes, with a best finish of 8th at Rockingham, and North Wilkesboro in 1980. This would also be the first Cup start for Hut Stricklin.
2012 - Series officials met with Cup drivers and crew chiefs Saturday at Talladega Super speedway to detail next year's changes. They are: The top 35 rule, in existence since 2005, will be eliminated. This rule was in place to ensure teams in the top 35 in car owner points (and their sponsors) would be in the race in an era when 50 or more cars were attempting to qualify for races. The top 36 positions will be set by qualifying speed with the remaining spots set by provisionals, including a champion's provisional. Provisionals are based on car owner points rankings. A random draw will set the qualifying order. The past two seasons, the order was determined by speeds in the first practice session. Provisionals for the first three races next year will be based on the final car owner points standings this year instead of the first five races as in previous years. Each organization can test at four tracks of its choosing next season where NASCAR competes, the first time teams can do so since 2008. The series' sanctioning body banned testing in 2009, and since then teams could not test at tracks where NASCAR held races, but they could test on other tracks. Additionally, NASCAR wisely reduced the size of the Xfinity Series fields from 43 cars to 40 starting next season. That series has been overrun with start-and-park teams, so the change will cut three cars out of the race.
1958 - Heidelberg Speedway was one of the tracks that host the races of NASCAR's inaugural 1949 season. Heidelberg Speedway is located about 15 miles from Pittsburg, PA, and owned by Pittsburgh Steelers founder and owner Art Rooney. Al Bonnell won the pole, but would be the first car out of the race. Lee Petty would wheel his 1949 Plymouth to his first win with Dick Linder second by a distant five laps. Bill Rexford finished third with Sam Rice, and Sara Christian making up the top five. This was the first top five finish for a woman in a Cup race, and to date it still is.
1958 - The Cup cars would make it's one and only stop at Salisbury Speedway located in Salisbury, NC on this date. It was 160 laps on a 5/8 mile first track comprising a 100 mile race. Gober Sosebee won the pole, but could not keep pace with a very fast Lee Petty. Petty would go on to win the race with Buck Baker finishing on the lead lap in second place. Cotton Owens, George Dunn, and and Roy Tyner finished third thorough fifth three laps down. This was race #48 on the 51 race schedule for 1958.
1963 - Tar Heel Speedway was located in the Petty's home town of Randleman, NC. Fred Lorenzen won the pole with Richard Petty starting outside. The track was a 1/4 mile paved bull ring, that provided some tight and rough racing action. Lorenzen got a good start and would lead the first lap, and the 158 to follow. Richard Petty would go on to lead the final 41 laps to get his only win at his home track. Joe Weatherly managed to hang with Petty and finished second on the lead lap. Bob Welborn was third, followed by Darel Dieringer. Fred Lorenzen finished fifth, after differential issues dropped him to six laps behind. The track only hosted three races (all in 1963) and were all won by Petty Enterprises race cars. Jim Paschal won the other two events.
1975 - The 1975 National 500 held at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the final start for Darel Dieringer. He would start 14th, and driver his DM Construction Ford to a 7th place finish. David Pearson won the pole, and Dave Marcis would start second. 15 different drivers would lead the event that saw 29 lead changes through the first 224 laps. at that point Richard Petty would take the lead and led the final 111 laps to claim the win. Petty would just edge out David Pearson by a scant 2/10 of second. Buddy Baker third, Benny Parsons and Cecil Gordon rounded out the top five. For his career Dieringer would run in 181 Cup races, and claim 7 wins, including the 1966 Southern 500. He also raced in the Convertible series 21 times. He finished third in Cup points in 1965.
1976 - JJ Yeley's birthday
1983 - on this date we lost Carl Kiekhaefer (car owner). He was a successful car own in the Cup series, his cars won two Cup championships, and his drivers collected 52 Cup wins (including 16 in a row). He passed away at the age of 77.
1957 - Bob Welborn would get his first win here at Martinsville Speedway racing in the Sweepstakes 500. This was a 'sweepstakes' race where the NASCAR convertible cars and the regular cars both ran together. Eddie Pagan would win the pole, and Welborn would start on the outside front row. Welborn seemed to have the car to be for the entire 500 lap race. At the drop of the green he led the first 183 laps, and he led the final 252 leading a total of 435 laps to win by 14 seconds. Jimmy Massey would finish second driving for the Wood Brothers. It would be his best career finish as he finished second twice, both times in the Wood Brothers car. He drove four races for the Wood Brothers, and never finished worse than fifth. Lee Petty would come home third, followed by Rex White, and Joe Weatherly.
1985 - Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the final win for Cale Yarborough, racing in the Miller High Life 500. Harry Gant would win the pole at a speed over 166 mph, but after having on of the strongest cars all day, he would have bad luck in the race as he blew a motor on lap 254 of the 334 lap event. Tim Richmond would start second, and have a good run finishing sixth. Bill Elliott also had a strong car, and led 104 laps. He would be leading when Yarborough would pass him to take the lead with 46 laps to go. Elliott would keep the pressure on and Yarborough was just about to edge out Elliott by one second. Geoff Bodine would finish third followed by Darrell Waltrip and Joe Ruttman. Waltrip's solid fourth place finish allowed him to just edge out Elliott by 20 points to win the 1985 championship; the season in which Bill won 11 races. Yarborough would win 83 races in his career, and won the Championship three years in a row, (1976-1978)
2002 - Here at Talladega Speedway Jamie McMurray would make his first Cup start. McMurray would be filling in for Sterling Marlin who had been injured in a previous race. He would qualify fifth after a great qualifying run, but fell a lap off the pace and finished 26th. Jimmy Johnson won the pole and Mark Martin started second. On the pace laps before the race even started, Martin had some sort of steering problem and hit Johnson's car. The theory was a rock flew up into the steering temporarily locking it up. Martin and Johnson were starting on the front row as they were the points leaders and qualifying was rained out. Both cars had to pit for repairs, and when the returned to the track the race had started and they were both a lap down. The race had just 11 different leaders, but it featured 35 lead changes. Dale Earnhardt Jr, driving for DEI outran the snarling pack to claim the win by 1/10 second. Tony Stewart finished second, followed by Ricky Rudd, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Green. All three DEI drivers finished in the top ten. Earnhardt 1st; Steve Park 6th, and Michael Waltrip 8th. On the opposite end of the spectrum every Hendrick Motorsports motor blew up. Jimmy Johnson blew up on lap 173 finishing 37th. Terry Labonte was 38th, Joe Nemechek was 39th, and Jeff Gordon was 42nd.
1930 - Curtis Crider's birthday
1956 - Newport Speedway located in Newport, TN would host the first of it's two Cup races held there. Joe Eubanks won the pole in his 1956 Ford, but never led a lap. Second place starter Buck Baker got the lead at the drop of the green, and led the first 149 of the 200 lap race. Fireball Roberts would make his way by Baker, and go on to lead the final 51 laps to gain the win with Baker hot on his trail. Bill Amick would finish third, with Joe Weatherly fourth and Herb Thomas fifth. Roberts would go on to win both Cup races held at this track.
1973 - The National 500 held at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the first start for Harry Gant. Driving the 1972 Ford sponsored by Truxmore Industries and owned by Junie Donlavey, Gant would start 17th, and would finish 11th. David Pearson won the pole, but would crash out of the race on lap 46 after leading 12 laps. Cale Yarborough would start second, have the dominant car leading 257 of the 334 laps. Only Richard Petty was able to stay on the lead lap with Yarborough as Cale nipped Petty at the finish line by one second. Bobby Allison would finish third, followed by Benny Parsons, and Dick Trickle. It would be the first top five finish for Trickle. This would also be Wendell Scott's final Cup start. Scott had a great run finishing 12th. For his career, Scott competed in 495 CUP events even though he was highly discriminated against because he was black, but he never complained. Statistically Scott should of been the 1961 Rookie of the Year. He made 23 starts, had five top 10 finishes, and finished 32 in the points. Woody Wilson was the driver awarded the Rookie of the Year, even though he only made five starts and posted one top 10, finishing 41st in the points. Scott claimed his lone Cup win in 1964 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, FL. Buck baker was originally awarded the win (rumor is that the crowd would erupt if the winners trophy was given to a black man). Hours after the race was over, NASCAR claimed they made a 'scoring error' and Scott was given the trophy long after the crowd had left. He also posted 20 top five finishes. To date Scott is the only black driver to ever win in the CUP series. In 1977 a movie was made about Wendell Scott's race career staring Richard Prior. The movie was "Greased Lightning".
2001 - Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the site of future Cup champion Jimmy Johnson's first start. Johnson had a good qualifying effort, starting 15th. But he spun out backing his car into the wall on lap 192 and finished 39th. The starting line up was a jumble of less successful drivers. Jimmy Spencer won the pole, with Todd Bodine starting second. Kenny Wallace was third, Ryan Newman fourth and Kevin Lepage fifth (this was Newman was just getting started). The top starters held their ground and swapped the lead among themselves for the first 50 laps. Spencer, Bodine, Wallace, and Joe Nemechek all took turns at the front. When it was all over Lepage and Bodine would finish a lap down, and Newman would be two laps back. The race finally played out as a duel between the two strongest cars. Tony Stewart led 130 laps, while Sterling Marlin led 135. With 38 laps to go Marlin would forge into the lead and never be headed. He would go on to a six second victory over Stewart. Ward Burton would finish third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jeff Burton.
1955 - Bill Elliott's birthday
1972 - Bobby Allison drives to a two-lap victory in Rockingham's American 500 to record his 10th win of the season. Allison leads in his 39th consecutive race, an all-time record that is acknowledged as stock car racing's "Joe DiMaggio Record."
1993 - Darrell "Bubba" Wallace's birthday.
2006 - Talladega Super speedway would once again be the location that saw a driver win his first Cup event. This time it was Brian Vickers going to victory lane. Yates Racing used to supply some very strong motors for the plate races, and this time was no different. David Gilliland would win the pole with his teammate Dale Jarrett outside, both with the Yates horsepower. Gilliland and Jarrett would both be one of the 23 drivers to finish on the lead lap. Gilliland would be 15th, and Jarrett 12th. The race would see 63 lead changes with 23 different leaders. "The Big One" came om lap 138. There was 14 cars involved including Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Sterling Marlin, Greg Biffle, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Gordon, and Kyle Petty among others. Of the many lead changes, 40 of them the driver only led one or two laps before someone else took it away. Earnhardt led for 22 laps and was leading as they were coming to the checkers. However he and Jimmy Johnson got together and crashed in turn #3 and Jr ended up finishing 23rd. Vickers would be there to grab the lead when the crash happened to get the win. Kasey Kahne would finish second, follow by Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Martin Truex. Kevin Harvick was 6th. Truex and Harvick was also involved in the "big One" but rally back after repairs to have a great finish.
1955 - Future race winner Tiny Lund would make his first Cup start on this date at Memphis-Arkansas Speedway in Lehi, AR. Future race winners Johnny Allen, Norm Nelson, and Chuck Stevenson also made their first career starts. Fonty Flock won the pole, but his race was cut short after only five laps with radiator problems. Fonty's brother Tim Flock would start second and lead the first 42 laps. The next lap he would be passed by Speedy Thompson who would do on to lead the final 158 laps to win by 3/4 of a lap. Marvin Panch would finish second, followed by Jimmy Massey, Tim Flock, and Bob Flock. Lund would start 23rd, but crash out after 65 laps finishing 25th. Allen would start 31st, and finish 17th. Nelson would start 39th, but blow a motor after 162 laps and finish 18th. Stevenson started 15th, but had a vapor lock on lap 43 and finished 30th.
1975 - Darrian Grubb's birthday
1977 - The NAPA National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the first race for Tom Sneva. He would qualify 12th, but have clutch issues just past 1/2 way, and finish 27th. David Pearson would win the pole and Cale Yarborough would start second. Pearson would lead the first two laps, but he wouldn't be strong enough to lead again. Benny Parsons would lead the majority of the laps and go on to win by 19 seconds. Cale Yarborough would finish second, followed by Pearson, Buddy Baker, and Darrell Waltrip.
1983 - Richard Petty scores a controversial win in Charlotte's Miller High Life 500. Petty leads the final 23 laps for his 198th career NASCAR Cup win, but his team is fined $35,000 and docked 104 points following a post-race inspection. NASCAR officials discover illegal tires on Petty's Pontiac and an over-sized engine. NASCAR fined Petty but allowed him to keep the win. Of course with out it he would of never reached 200 wins.
1988 - Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the site of Rob Moroso's first of 29 CUP starts. His first two season's he only ran two races, but had completed 25 races of the 1990 season; when he was killed while drinking and driving the same night of his final Cup race at North Wilkesboro. Moroso would start this race 34th, but have a great drive to move his Peak antifreeze Chevy up to a 14th place finish. This was just a glimpse of the talent Moroso had. Alan Kulwicki would win the pole but crash out after 193 laps in the 334 lap event. Bill Elliott would start second, but not have a strong car as he had the entire season, and only lead four laps. The race would see the yellow hankie wave ten times. It featured 36 lead changes between 15 drivers. Rusty Wallace would pass Brett Bodine with 12 laps to go, and try to outrun a charging Darrell Waltrip. As they took the white flag, Waltrip was right on Rusty's bumper, and ducked low to out of turn two. Wallace ran Waltrip all the way down to the bottom of the track to break his momentum. As they came off of turn number four, Waltrip again pulled low to pass, but Wallace held Waltrip off to win by one car length. Brett Bodine had a great run in his Crisco sponsored Bud Moore Ford finishing third. The rest of the top five was Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin. The race featured 62 cars entered to qualify.
2005 - The 2005 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway would be the first start for Denny Hamlin. He would have a great qualifying run and start seventh. He finished two laps down in 32nd. Matt Kenseth won the pole, and Elliott Sadler would start second. Kenseth had a strong car and led 71 of the first 72 laps, but he had issues with his right front and the car was never as good after that. Mark Martin had a stout car, and the crew chief made the call for a two tire stop mid-way through the race and that changed the whole complex of the race. From that point Martin would lead all but seven of the remaining laps in the race. Jack Roush teammate Greg Biffle would keep the pressure on Martin, as Martin just held Biffle off by 1/2 a second. Another Roush driver, Carl Edwards would finish third with Tony Stewart fourth. Kenseth finished fifth. Stewart prevented a sweep of the top four finishing spots by Roush. Rusty Wallace led for the final time in his career and also posted his final top ten finish. It was his 700th start.
1954 - The Mid-South 250 took place at Memphis-Arkansas Speedway located in LeHi, AR. This was the first race ever on a 1 1/2 mile track, and was a 167 lap race. Junior Johnson won the pole, but burned a piston, and fell out after only 10 laps. He would finish 51st. Lee Petty started second, and led the first 150 laps. With just 17 laps to go Petty broke an axle, and would finish third six laps behind. Buck Baker would go on to claim the checkered flag, beating Dick Rathman by five laps. Herb Thomas finished fourth, and Herschel Buchanan finished fifth.
1974 - Dale Earnhardt Jr's birthday
1976 - This date would mark the final start for Buck Baker. It would come at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the National 500. Baker would qualify 28th, and move up to finish 24th. For the race David Pearson won the pole, with Buddy Baker starting outside. Pearson and Baker waged a fierce battle for the first 70 laps. Dave Marcis and Richard Petty also made their presence know as the four drivers swapped the lead every few laps. Cale Yarborough, Donnie Allison, and Bobby Allison would then also join the fray, and the six drivers swapped the lead many times over the first 87 laps. During that time no driver had led more than 15 consecutive laps. Pearson got the lead for 34 laps, before Baker took it away and led for the next 28 circuits. At that point Yarborough broke out and led for 74 consecutive laps. For the final 110 laps, the battle would boil down to Baker, Yarborough, Bobby Allison, and Donnie Allison as the others just couldn't keep pace. With 27 laps to go Donnie Allison took the lead away from Yarborough and would go on to take the checkered flag and win by 12 seconds. Bobby Allison would finish third, followed by Baker, and Benny Parsons. Donnie Allison was driver for the legendary Hoss Ellington, and this would be his first win as a car owner. For his career Buck Baker would run 635 Cup races, and win 46 times. He was the Cup champion in 1956 and 1957. This would also be the final start for part-time NASCAR driver and Indy 500 winner Gordon Johncock. For his Cup career Johncock made 21 starts. He had three top five finishes. He had most of his success in the Indy Car series. He ran 200 races, and won 20 times. He won the Indy 500 twice, both times driving the STP Oil Filter car owned by Pat Patrick. Johncock won the Indy car Championship in 1976.
1982 - Harry Gant gallops past Bill Elliott with five laps to go and racks up his first super speedway victory in Charlotte's National 500. Bobby Allison's engine failure with 10 laps remaining sets up a late-race dash. Gant finishes 2.93 seconds ahead of Elliott when the checkered flag falls.
1989 - The Miller High Life 400 at Richmond Speedway would mark the final start for Lennie Pond. His final start would come in a car fielded by Junie Donlavey. He would start 25th, and drive the race car to a very respectable 11th place finish. Rusty Wallace would start sixth, but never manage to lead the race until lap 190 of the 400 lap race. However when Wallace got the lead, he would lead all the way to the checkered flag winning by seven seconds. Dale Earnhardt Sr finished second, followed by Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd, and Harry Gant.
1993 - The Mello Yello 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the location for Jeremy Mayfield's first Cup start. Mayfield would start 30th in his MAC Tools Ford, and go on to finish 29th. New comer Jeff Gordon would win his first Cup pole, but no one was a match for Ernie Irvan on this day. He led 328 of the races 334 laps and won by almost two seconds. It would of been a much larger margin if not for a late race yellow. Mark martin finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Sr., Rusty Wallace, and Gordon.
2004 - Kansas Speedway would be the site of the final win for Joe Nemechek. He would win the pole with a speed of 180 mph, and Kasey Kahne would start second. Twelve drivers would swap the lead 12 times. On the final restart, with just 15 laps to go Rudd was making a move to get under Nemechek when he got shoved down on the apron by a lapped car (just happened to be Nemechek's teammate Scott Riggs). Rudd fell way back by the time he recovered and had to fight his way back up through the field. As they come to the checkered flag Nemechek was able to edge out Rudd by a fender length. The top three finishers all had military sponsors. Nemechek was sponsored by the US Army, Rudd by the Air Force, and third place finisher Greg Biffle was sponsored by the National Guard. The rest of the top five was Elliott Sadler, and Jeremy Mayfield.
2009 - Restrictor-plate size is reduced for the upcoming AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Speedway. The reduction is expect to slow cars 3-5 mph.
2015 - Jack Bebee dies following brief illness - Born in New London, CT on May 12, 1925. Jack went on to found Beebe School Transportation, which ultimately became the largest school bus company in the state. Jack founded and owned Race Hill Farm Racing Team; employing the likes of Handsome Harry Gant, Geoff Bodine, Morgan Shepard and Ron Bouchard. Jack raced [as car owner] the NASCAR Cup Series winning Talladega in 1981 (w/Ron Bouchard) and Atlanta in 1986 (w/Morgan Shepherd). After selling his team to Cale Yarborough in 1987 Jack turned his attention back to his antique cars.
1967 - David Starr's birthday
1970 - Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the location that saw LeeRoy Yarbrough claim his last win. The National 500 would see Charlie Glotzbach win the pole, but have bad luck and crash out after only 44 laps. Richard Petty and Buddy Baker would start second and third, but both would also crash out. The race featured 24 lead changes among eight drivers. Pete Hamilton had a stout car leading 109 laps, but crashed out on lap 226 finishing 24th. Bobby Isaac would be leading with 12 laps to go, but he would blow up bringing out the yellow. Yarbrough was running second and inherited the lead, and the race went on to finish under the yellow. Bobby Allison would finish second, Fred Lorenzen third, Benny Parsons fourth, and despite the blown motor, Isaac would finish fifth. Yarbrough would be another driver that only competed part time, but would win 14 times in 18 starts over a 12 year span. He would win the Daytona 500 and Southern 500 in 1969
1981 - Xfinity star Jack Ingram would make his final Cup start here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Ingram would have a very respectable final start as he qualified 18th, and drove his #13 Carolina Tool Ford to a 9th place finish. Darrell Waltrip would win the pole, and Harry Gant would be second. Gant's day was short as he broke a crank on lap four and was done for the day. The second and third row starters wouldn't fare any better. Row two starters Cale Yarborough and Buddy Baker would fall out with a blown motor and broken tie rod respectively. Fifth place starter Tim Richmond blew a motor as did sixth place starter Terry Labonte. Neil Bonnett would start seventh and lead the most laps, but also be a victim of a blown motor. Waltrip would lead 127, passing Bobby Allison to lead the final 61 and take the win. Allison would go on to finish second, followed by Ricky Rudd, Tommy Ellis, and Ron Bouchard. This would be the only top five finish of Ellis' Cup career. Ingram was know "The Iron Man" as he was as tough as any driver even at the age of 54. Ingram make his living in the Xfinity series. He didn't start racing in the Xfinity series until the age of 45, and the first four years he would finish either first or second; winning the championship in 1982, and 1985. In nine season of racing full time in the series, he finished in the top five in points seven times.
1992 - Mark Martin edges Alan Kulwicki to win Charlotte's Mello Yello 500 for his second win of the season. Points leader Bill Elliott departs with mechanical problems, leaving six drivers within 114 points in what has suddenly become a wide-open championship race.
2003 - Brian Vickers would make his first Cup start here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Vickers would qualify 20th in his Haas Automation Chevy, owned by Rick Hendrick. He would finish five laps down in 33rd. Ryan Newman won the pole, and Jeff Gordon started second. Eight different drivers swapped the lead 16 times. There was several long green flag runs with four of those that lead leading four laps or less under pit stops. Newman had a strong car late in the race, but a flat tire with less than 70 laps to go forced him to pit earlier than planned. Stewart stopped later and had fresher tires as the race would down. Stewart passed Newman with eight laps to go, and drove to the win. Newman would finish second, followed by Jimmy Johnson, Bill Elliott, and Jeff Gordon. Here is footage of the race, and the race finish.
1932 - Ned Jarrett's birthday
1941 - Morgan Shepherd's birthday
1951 - Thompson Speedway located in Thompson, CT hosted it's first Cup race this day. It hosted a total of three Cup races, the next one wasn't until 1969. A field of 38 drivers started the event, with Neil Cole starting on the pole. Frank Mundy started second in his 1951 Studebaker. Mundy would lead the first 13 laps, but have problems and fell out finishing 21st. Herb Thomas would assume the lead and lead the next 84 laps driving his Fabulous Hudson Hornet. He also had problems, and finished 26th. Jim Reed took the lead on lap 98, and led until lap 155, but Cole had a strong car, and would bypass Reed and lead the final 45 laps to get the win. Reed would come home second a lap in arrears. This would be Coles lone Cup win. The top five finishers was rounded out by Dick Eagan, Billy Carden, and Reino Tulonen.
1957 - Located in Newberry, SC, Newberry Speedway would host it's one and only Cup race. Jack Smith would win the pole, and go on to lead the first 18 laps. Speedy Thompson started third, and bypassed Smith to grab the lead and hold it for 47 laps. Buck Baker would take the lead from Thompson and lead the next 17 laps before Fireball Roberts powered by and led for the final 118 laps. Baker was no match for the fast Roberts, as he completed the race over a lap ahead of the second place Baker. Smith would hold on to finish third followed by Marvin Panch, and Gwyn Staley. Only 900 spectators watch Fireball Roberts wheel his Ford to victory in the 100-mile event. To this day, it remains the smallest track side attendance in NASCAR history.
1975 - Darrell Waltrip gives the DiGard Racing team its first NASCAR Cup win in the 500-lapper at Richmond Fairgrounds Speedway.
2013 - The Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor speedway would be Kyle Larson's first Cup start. Larson was an upstart in the Xfinity series who moved up quickly through the NASCAR ranks. He started this race in car #51 owned by Harry Scott. Scott had recently bought out James Finch's race operation, and Scott wanted to run a couple races before the kick off of the 2014 season. Larson had already been announced to be the replacement for out-going driver Juan Pablo Montoya, and Chip Ganassi approached Scott about putting Larson in his car so Larson could get a feel of the Cup cars. Larson qualified, and ran a solid race. He was on the lead lap when his motor expired on lap 247. This would be a dog fight between Jimmy Johnson and his team mate Kasey Kahne. Each led over 130 laps, but Brad Keselowski would take over the lead with nine laps to go and grab the win. Kahne finished second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Johnson, and Kyle Busch. Brian Scott also saw his first ever Cup start in this race. He drove the #33 RCR owned Chevy to a 19th place starting position. A poor handling car left him with a 27th place finish - four laps down.
1953 - This event held at Martinsville Speedway would see Jim Paschal win his first Cup race. Fonty Flock would claim the pole, but Buck Baker would lead the first 127 laps. He had a wheel bearing go out and he would finish 20th. Paschal was there to take advantage of Baker's bad luck to take the lead and head the field for the final 73 laps. Lee Petty would finish second, followed by Bill Blair, Flock, and Carl Burris.
???? - David Ifft's birthday - crew chief
2000 - Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth TX would be Tony Roper's final start as he was fatally injured in a lap 32 accident. As they raced down the front stretch quad-oval Roper tried to go between two trucks making it three wide. There wasn't enough room, and he got turned and hit the outside wall head on. Roper's crash into the wall killed him instantly; he died of a basil skull fracture. It was a rough year for the Roper family. Tony's father Dean Roper who has a successful ARCA career died during an ARCA race in Springfield, IL. It is believed he suffered a heart attack before he crashed. In the race Bryan Reffner driving a John Menard owned Chevy would start on the pole, lead 28 laps and win the race over shadowed by Ropers death. Reffner would pass Andy Houston with just seven laps remaining and hold him off for a one second win. It was Reffner's one and only win in the NASCAR competition . He was the 1995 ASA Champion. For his career Roper would make 19 Xfinity starts with three top 10 finishes. The best being eighth at South Boston. He started 60 Truck Series races with one top five, and eight top ten finishes. He finished second to Jack Sprague at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1998. The rest of the top five finishers were Kurt Busch, Jimmy Hensley, and Dennis Setzer. Greg Biffle would crash on lap number two, but would still claim the Truck Series Championship. It would be the first for owner Jack Roush. Here is a video of the Tony Roper Crash.
2002 - Just one week after making his Cup debut while filling in for an injured Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray would come to his second Cup race located a Charlotte Motor Speedway and claim his first Cup victory. This was a record he held alone until he was tied by Trevor Bayne when he won the Daytona 500 in only his second career start in 2011. Tony Stewart would start on the pole, and Mark Martin would start on the outside. Due to rain earlier in the day, and the race getting a late start, the race was started under a green/yellow condition. On lap six the green flag flew and it was a fast clean race for the first 137 laps. At that point Bill Elliott spun and collected the wall. After repairs he came back out and finished the event. The race was run under mostly green conditions up to lap 227 when Ricky Rudd blew a tire and slammed the wall. On the restart Todd Bodine tried to go three wide and his left side tires got down into the wet grass. He caused a 10 car pileup that included the cars of Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, John Andretti, Ward Burton and others. The next restart proved to be the final one in the race as McMurray was ahead at the restart. McMurray would lead 87 of the final 105 laps to beat Bobby Labonte to the finish by 3/10 of a second. The two put on an exciting battle the final few laps racing side by side for the win. Stewart finished third followed by Jeff Gordon, and Rusty Wallace. This would be Junie Dunlavey's last start as a car owner. Highlights of McMurray's Win here.
2010 - NASCAR announced the the inductees who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011. This will be the second class of inductees. They are: Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, and Lee Petty.
1951 - Oakland Stadium located in Oakland, CA. would host their first Cup race this day. It was 400 laps around a .625 mile track. Dick Rathman won the pole, but by the time the checkered flag fell it was Marvin Burke who was out front. He led 158 laps of the race, and it was Burke only career Cup start. Robert Caswell was second, Woody brown third, Sam Hawks fourth, and Dick Meyer fifth. Many of the NASCAR "stars" chose not to drive cross country to compete in this event as two other Cup races were also scheduled for this day. Future Cup star Marvin Panch would make his first Cup start here in his home town of Oakland. He would finish in sixth place.
1951 - Pine Grove Speedway located in Shippenville, PA was the second Cup race of three held on this date. Tim Flock won the pole, and led all 200 laps around this 1/2 mile dirt track. With three races on the same date the field of drivers was diluted as all of the 'star' drivers were scattered about. Flock, Bill Rexford, and Lloyd Moore were the only 'name' drivers in the 20 car field. John McGinley finished second, Billy Carden third, with Jimmy Florian and Moore fourth and fifth.
1956 - Charlotte Speedway (not to be confused with Charlotte Motor Speedway also in Charlotte) was a 3/4 mile dirt track that hosted Cup races for nine years. This is also the track that hosted the very first NASCAR Sanctioned Cup race. This was the final hard top race held at this track. In 1957 the Convertible series would run it's final race at this track (Glen Wood would win that race). On this date, Ralph Moody won the pole, but Speedy Thompson would lead the first 14 laps. Ralph Moody would then take over the lead and hold the point until Buck Baker moved to the front, and led the final 104 laps to get the win. Moody would finish second, followed by Marvin Panch, Jim Paschal, and Bill Amick.
2009 - The first five inductees of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame are announced in Charlotte NC. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr, and Bill France Jr will be inducted as the inaugural class in May 2010.
2015 - NASCAR announced it's rules changes for the upcoming 2016 season. The base package will include a 3 1/2 in spoiler (reduced from six inches); a 1/4 inch front leading splitter (reduced from two inches); and a 33 inch wide radiator pan (reduced from 38 inches). The components will provide lower down force on the cars and tire supplier GoodYear will develop new tires to implement these changes. Characteristics of the lower down force rules package includes more off-throttle time for drivers and decreasing corner speeds. This generates more passing zones over the entire track, and allows for multiple tire combinations to be levered. In addition to the base package, each track will continue to feature specific rules, including tire combinations and drive train configurations, to create the best racing for each track length, layout and surface. Rear gear ratios will be adjusted to maintain a maximum engine speed of 9,000 RPM and a 1.38 third gear ratio will be used at all tracks smaller than 1.25 miles. The digital dashboard, which was optional for teams during the second half of this season, will be mandatory in all vehicles. Several safety updates have been instituted, including a double NACA duct where a right-hand side window is used, a fire suppression system activation cable routed to the dash or right-hand side leg board and a seat belt restraint system that meets SFI 16.6 specification. Super speedways Daytona and Talladega have a few tweaks for next year, too. Engine roller lifters will replace the current solid lifters (adding approximately 10 horsepower), which in turn will reduce the size of restrictor plates from 29/32 inches to 57/64 inches.
1915 - Gober Sosebee's birthday
1920 - Chris Economaki's birthday.
1932 - Red Farmer's birthday
1950 - Dick Linder won the pole for the only CUP race ever held at Winchester Speedway located in Winchester, IN. Linder led the first three laps before falling out with mechanical issues. When Linder headed for the pits, Bucky Sager grabbed the lead, and would hold the point for the next 146 laps. With 50 laps to go Lloyd Moore passed Sager and went on to claim the win. This would be Moore's lone Cup win. Sager went on to finish second, with Bill Rexford third. Rexford would win the Cup title this season. Chuck James, and Ray Duhigg rounded out the top five.
1950 - Martinsville Speedway would be the site of future Cup champions Herb Thomas' first win. Fonty Flock would win the pole and Tim Flock would start second. Thomas took the lead on lap 65 and would be at the point for the final 135 laps to claim the win. Lee Petty would finish second, followed by Buck Baker, Fonty Flock, and Weldon Adams. This would be Bakers first career top five. This would be Junie Donlavey's debut as an owner.
1967 - Buddy Baker would claim his first Cup win here at Charlotte Motor speedway in the National 500. Baker's car whas strong when it counted as he moved into the lead on lap 207 and led all but three of the final 138 laps. He would out run Bobby Isaac by over a lap, with Dick Hutcherson finishing third; Charlie Glotzback fourth; and GC Spencer fifth. Richard Petty would blow a motor on lap 268 to end his ten race consecutive win streak.
2000 - The Winston 500 at Talladega Al. would be the final win of Dale Earnhardt Sr's career. Joe Nemechek would win the pole, running just over 190 mph. Bill Elliott would start second. The race saw 21 different drivers out front, with 49 lead changes. There were only three yellow flags in the race, with the final restart coming on lap 174, just 14 from the end. The snarling pack swapped the lead back and forth between drivers such as Mike Skinner, Dave Marcis, John Andretti, among others. With five laps to go Earnhardt started his charge to the front. With the help of Kenny Wallace pushing Earnhardt Dale was able to move from 18th into the lead when the white flag flew. Earnhardt would grab the win over Wallace by 1/10 of a second. Joe Nemechek was third, Jeff Gordon fourth, and Terry Labonte fifth. 26 cars finished on the lead lap. For his career Earnhardt would run in 136 Xfinity events winning 21 times. He also competed in 676 CUP races winning on 76 occasions. After winning almost everything possible at Daytona he finally won the Daytona 500 in 1998. He also won six IROC races, and 12 of the Daytona qualifying races. He won the Southern 500 three times. In 1979 Earnhardt won the Cup Rookie of the Year award, and the next year followed that up with his first Cup Championship. He also won championships in 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994. Earnhardt won the Winston All Star races in 1987, 1990, and 2000. He also had career earnings of 42 million dollars. Other awards Earnhardt was named among NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. In 2001 Bill Elliott was easily leading the balloting for the Most Popular driver when he withdrew his name from the ballot. This cleared the way for Earnhardt to posthumously be named NASCAR's Most Popular Driver in 2001, the only time he received the award. He was posthumously inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2002, he was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006, and he was inducted in the Inaugural Induction Class for the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, 2010. Earnhardt had a fatal crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001 after crashing nearly head on into the wall in turn number four coming to the checkered flag. Ironically two of the cars he owned finished first and second, with Mike Waltrip winning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr finishing second. Video of Earnhardt's Last Win is here.
2001 - Underdog Ricky Craven takes the lead in the closing stages of the Old Dominion 500 when Kevin Harvick spins Bobby Hamilton. Craven holds off a late charge by Dale Jarrett to claim his first career NASCAR Cup win. It is also team owner Cal Wells' first trip to victory lane.
2005 - NASCAR mandates minimum tire pressures and institutes competition cautions to check pressures during the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Twenty-two cautions had flown at the track in the May race, and 15 more followed in the fall, many due to blown tires. The track was scheduled to be repaved prior to the 2006 events. On this night; Race 31 of the 36, David Reutimann would make his first Cup start. He had a successful first race as he started 26th and would finish on the lead lap in 22nd. Elliott Sadler would start on the pole in his M&M Ford. Ryan Newman started on the outside of the front row. The race was a wreck-fest as the yellow flew 15 times, with 84 of the races 336 laps being run under caution. There was 17 different leaders, and 35 lead changes. Joe Nemechek would have a strong race, but Jimmy Johnson would pass Nemechek with 12 laps to go and hold on to the win. Kurt Busch would finish second, with Greg Biffle third, Nemechek fourth, and Mark Martin fifth. Part of the reason the race had so many yellows was because GoodYear had tire issues, and they had tires fail all weekend. Many of the accidents were one car wrecks when a driver blew a tire and hit the wall. Among them were Dale Earnhardt Jr, Bobby Hamilton Jr, Sterling Marlin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, and Ryan Newman. NASCAR had a competition yellow on lap 32 to check the tires, but after all the tire issues, they had a second competition yellow on lap 201. Still the problems continued. Highlights and Finish of the race.
1949 - North Wilkesboro Speedway, located in North Wilkesboro, NC would kick off it's long and storied race on this date. It was the final race of the 1949 Cup season, and was 200 laps on a 1/2 mile dirt track. Little know Kenneth Wagner would win the only pole of his Cup career, with Bill Blair starting second. Blair had a strong car as he jumped out into the lead, and led the first 180 laps. At that time he started having engine issues, and finally blew the motor on lap 191. When Blair had problems, Bob Flock was there to step in, lead the final 20 laps, and grab the win. Lee Petty finished second, followed by Fonty Flock, Clyde Minter, and Herb Thomas. Red Byron would go on to win the 1949 Championship becoming NASCAR first ever Champion. North Wilkesboro Speedway had many historic races, and would hold 93 Cup events through 1996. At that time, to the fans and drivers dismay NASCAR removed North Wilkesboro from it's schedule, and to date it still sits in a state of disrepair.
1955 - Las Vegas Park Speedway would have it's only Cup race on it's one mile dirt track for a scheduled distance of 200 laps. Norm Nelson won the pole with Bill Hyde starting second. Lloyd Dane would come from his fourth starting position to lead the first five laps. Dane fell out after 14 laps. Nelson would take the lead away and lead until lap 111. The race was shorted to 111 laps due to darkness, and Nelson was declared the winner. Hyde went on to finish second two laps behind. The rest of the top five was Bill West, Sherman Clark, and Jim Murray. This race would be Nelson's lone Cup win, and it would come in only his second start. The second through sixth place finishers all posted their best career finishes. The Cup series would return to Las Vegas competing on the 1 1/2 mile oval in 1998 to the newly built Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
1955 - NASCAR would host an east coast Cup race at Martinsville Speedway on the same day as the race at Las Vegas. This would be the first race held at Martinsville on a paved surface after being previously being a dirt track since it's opening in 1949. Future two time Cup winner Jimmy Pardue would make his first series start here this day. It would be a short day however as Pardue would start 16th, but break a hub after only 10 laps and finish 28th. Gwyn Staley would start on the pole, with Herb Thomas second. On lap 138 of the 200 lap race, Speedy Thompson would bypass Bob Welborn and lead until the finish. Jim Paschal would finish third, followed by Herb Thomas and Jim Reed.
1960 - Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the site of Charlie Glotzbach first Cup start. Know as "Chargin Charie", Glotzbach would start 38th but fall out and finish 28th after he suffered a broken A frame. Fireball Roberts would start on the pole, and have the dominate car all day. He led 197 of the first 232 laps. After Roberts problem, Speedy Thompson would take the lead, and lead for the final 35 laps. Richard Petty finished second one lap behind. Ned Jarrett was third, followed by Bobby Johns, and Junior Johnson. Friday Hassler would make his first Cup start. He started 22nd, and finished 22nd.
1966 - The National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be the site of Donnie Allison's first Cup start. Allison would start 39th, and blow a motor on lap 186 finishing 27th. Fred Lorenzen won the pole with Gordon Johncock starting second. LeeRoy Yarbrough started 17th, but had moved into the lead by lap 19. He went on to lead 301 of the 334 laps beating Darel Dieringer by 18 seconds. Paul Goldsmith finished third with Gordon Johncock and Earl Balmer rounding out the top five. This race would also be the best Cup finish for Gordon Johncock. A feat he matched in 1973 in the Firecracker 400. This would also be the final Cup start for Marvin Panch. He would start 11th, and wheel his Petty Enterprises Plymouth to a sixth place finish. Sort of ironic that his first start and his last start he would finish sixth both times. For his career Panch would run in 216 events, and win 17 times. He also raced in 24 Convertible events with one win. He was named on of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1987, and the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in its first class in 2002.
2010 - NASCAR announces that it top three classes will begin racing using 15-percent ethanol fuel starting in 2011.
1956 - Charlotte Speedway would host it's final Cup race. This was the track where the first ever Cup race was held back in 1949. This was a 3/4 mile dirt track with a race distance of 133 laps (99 miles). Ralph Moody won the pole, with Buck Baker on the outside. Speedy Thompson would start third, but grab the lead and lead the field for the first 14 laps. Moody would take the lead on lap 15, and head the field for 15 laps. Baker then assumed the lead, and would lead the final 155 laps to claim the win. Moody would finish second, followed by Marvin Panch, Jim Paschal, and Bill Amick.
1965 - On this date we lost driver Harold Kite. He would win the first Cup race he ever started; and only competed in nine events. He only ran a couple of races per year and stepped away from Cup racing in 1956, but returned in 1965. It would be a tragic return as on the second lap of the National 400; Kite was involved in a five-car pileup on the fourth turn. He was struck by Jimmy Helms, who suffered cuts and bruises. Kite, 43, was pronounced dead on arrival at the infield hospital. Fred Lorenzen would win this race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lorenzen outran Dick Hutcherson, A.J. Foyt, and Curtis Turner in what is regarded as a "race for the ages."
1998 - Jeff Gordon passes Kenny Irwin, Jr., with 38 laps remaining and hustles to victory in the rescheduled Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. For the first time, a race is staged under the lights at Daytona. Gordon wins for the 11th time in the 1998 season and is virtually assured of winning his third championship.
2001 - On this date we lost Jack Smith. Smith was one of the drivers to race in the first NASCAR sanctioned race. He posted 21 career Cup wins. He died from congestive heart failure in 2001 at the age of 77.
1952 - Billy Myer's birthday
1952 - Martinsville Speedway would see Bob Welborn make his first Cup start. He would start 24th, but have steering issues after 137 laps and fall out finishing 20th; and claim $25 in winnings. Perk Brown would win the pole driving his 1952 Hudson. It would be the only pole of his 28 race career. Herb Thomas would drive his Hudson to the second place start. Dick Rathman had the strongest car as he led 102 laps from lap 72 to lap 173 of the 200 lap race. Then he broke a right rear axle, and would fall out finishing 16th. Thomas would be there to capitalize on Rathman's bad luck to take the lead and drive to the win. Fonty Flock would finish second, followed by Lee Petty, Tim Flock, and Johnny Patterson.
1969 - Augusta Speedway located in Augusta would host it's last race. It was 200 laps on a 1/2 mile dirt track with Bobby Isaac having an impressive day. Isaac led all but two laps as Richard Petty led for two circuits. Isaac piloted his 1969 Dodge to the win, but Petty was chasing hard still on the lead lap at the finish. Petty ran the race driving a 1969 Ford. David Pearson finished third, with LeeRoy Yarbrough fourth, and Elmo Langley fifth.
1968 - Charlie Glotzbach would claim his first career win here at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the National 500. Glotzbach would win the pole with a lap of 156 mph. David Pearson would start second, and lead 156 of the races 334 laps. Glotzbach led 92 laps, and he and Pearson and swap the lead between themselves over the final 100 laps. But it would be Paul Goldsmith that he outrun to the finish line by seven seconds. Glotzback would give Dodge only its second super speedway win of the season. Pearson would finish third, with Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough fourth and fifth.
1991 - Here at North Carolina Motor Speedway Ricky Craven would make his first Cup start. Craven would start 34th in his Dick Moroso owned, SpeeDee sponsored Olds. He would also finish 34th after having engine problems. Kyle Petty would win the pole, with Ernie Irvan started second. Irvan would crash out on lap 365. Harry Gant was the class of the field as he led 258 of the 492 laps. Nearly the last 200 laps were run under green. Davey Allison would pass Mark Martin with 17 laps to go, but Gant made a late race run, and tried to chase down Allison in the closing laps. He came up less than one second short as Allison got the win. Gant was second, followed by Martin, Geoff Bodine, and Ken Schrader. This would also be the final Cup start for Jimmy Means. For his career Means competed in 455 CUP events, most as an independent. He never won a Cup event, but had a best finish of seventh in 1983 at Talladega. He had career earnings of 1.9 million dollars.
2015 - The topic of "Charters" in NASCAR has become a more popular topic in 2015. A Charter is NASCAR's word for what many would term a "Franchise". Since June, team executives and NASCAR have had discussions about putting a system in place for 2016, and NASCAR began explaining to owners its plans after a Sept. 29 meeting with them. The Race Team Alliance, a coalition of most (but not all) Cup owners, met a couple to discuss the proposal and negotiations have continued since then. The goal is to provide "value" to a team other than what it's assets are. Not only would a charter come with a guaranteed starting spot, it could come with a guarantee of television money. NASCAR teams get 25 percent of the television money, which currently is distributed as a portion of the purse and depends on finishing position. MANY questions remain to see if the teams can even come to some sort of agreement. For example; while a team with a charter would be required to compete in each race to keep the charter, would there be a performance clause requiring a team to have a certain level of performance, too? Is there still a team cap of four cars, or could NASCAR make it three and grandfather in those already with four for a certain number of years? The initial NASCAR proposal, according to industry leaders who spoke on the condition of anonymity and confirmed by owners and team executives with knowledge of the negotiations, would give team owners of 36 cars guaranteed spots in a Cup field reduced from the current 43 cars to 40 cars. There are 43 cars that have attempted every race this year, but only 36 would get charters. Under the initial proposal, it appears that to be eligible for a charter, the current version of the plan requires a team to have been full-time since 2013. That requirement would affect Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, which each added a fourth car in the past two years. It also could hurt Penske Racing, which is trying to work with Wood Brothers to field a third full-time car in 2016 for Ryan Blaney. How much a charter is worth would depend on the bidders. In business, all one needs to drive up the cost is one more entity wanting to purchase a license than the number of licenses available. So there is a great deal for NASCAR and teams to negotiate. They would like to have it done for 2016, with most hopeful it will happen but still some skepticism that it can get done. STAY TUNED.
1973 - David Pearson captures his 11th win in 18 starts with a season-ending victory in the American 500 at Rockingham's North Carolina Motor Speedway. Benny Parsons pits for repairs after an early crash. The help of several teams allow him to get back into the race and finish 28th. Parsons holds on to win the NASCAR Cup Championship over Cale Yarborough.
1984 - North Carolina Motor Speedway would mark the first career Cup start for Terry Schoonover. Terry would qualify 39th in his self owned #42 Restore Auto Care Products Chevy. Geoff Bodine would win the pole with Bill Elliott starting outside. Bodine would lead the first 32 laps from the drop of the green, but would never be at the point again. Elliott and Harry Gant would be the class of the field. Elliott would lead 133 laps, while Gant was out front for 166. Except for one single lap led by Darrell Waltrip, Elliott or Gant would lead the final 200 laps. Gant would pass Elliott as they took the white flag, but Elliott would run clear down the to bottom of the track to pass Gant as they come to the checkers in a photo finish. Terry Labonte would finish third, Darrell Waltrip fourth, and Bobby Allison fifth. This would be the final top 10 finish for Lennie Pond. Here is the finish of that exciting race.
2007 - This date would see Ward Burton make his last Cup start. The race was at Martinsville Speedway, and was 500 laps around the tight 1/2 mile bull ring. Ward would start 36, and finish 38th. Jeff Gordon won the pole with Martin Truex starting along side. Gordon would jump to the lead, and hold it for the first 108 laps. The final 250 laps would be a battle between Kyle Busch, Jimmy Johnson, and Gordon. Gordon would lead until 44 laps to go when Johnson would fight his way by his Rick Hendrick teammate, and go on to take the win. Ryan Newman would also bypass Gordon to take second, and Gordon would come home third. The rest of the top five was Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth. For his career Burton ran in 161 Xfinity events collecting four wins, and in 375 Cup starts claiming five wins. He won twice at Darlington, including the Southern 500, and also won the Daytona 500 in 2002. He had 25 million dollars in Cup earnings. In a way Burton was the reason for the ending of his career. He was dropped by the Morgan McLure Motorsports team, and there were no quality rides available in the Cup series at that time. Burton was stubborn, and before he would accept a ride with a second tier team, or drop down and race in the Xfinity series until a quality Cup ride became available; he refused to race the NASCAR series at all. As is said, "out of sight - out of mind" and thus was the story for Burton, being out of racing, and off of any team owners radar, Burton wasn't ever considered for a full time Cup ride again. In 2012 Burton got his own sponsor, and signed with a team his son was going to drive some Truck races for. He did race in the Daytona Truck series event to try and accumulate some points for his son to use to be locked into the field later in the season. Race Highlights are here.
1989 - The 1989 AC Delco 500 held at North Carolina Motor Speedway would be the site of Mark Martin's first Cup win. Alan Kulwicki would put his Zerex Ford on the pole with a speed of 148 mph. Darrell Waltrip would start second in his Tide Chevy. This race had a lot of action with 14 yellow flags, with 10 different leaders and 36 lead changes. Rusty Wallace led 194 laps, but he and Dale Earnhardt tangle midway through the race, causing major damage to Earnhardt's Chevrolet. Martin would pass Waltrip with 77 laps to go, and hold of Wallace for a three second win. This would be Martins first win after finishing second six times previously. This was also Jack Roush's first win as a car owner. The rest of the top five finishers were Waltrip, Ken Schrader, and Dick Trickle
1995 - Ward Burton would win his first Cup event here at North Carolina Motor Speedway. Burton would start third, with Hut Stricklin, and Michael Waltrip on the first row. Rick Mast had a stout car on this day as he led 139 of the first 257 laps. That is when he blew a motor, and fell out finishing 34th. After Mast fell out the race saw six different leaders over the final 140 laps. Burton would pass Jeremy Mayfield with 60 laps to go but would have to hold off a charging Rusty Wallace to get a 2 second win. Mark Martin finished third, with Terry Labonte, and Jeff Burton fourth and fifth. This was Hut Stricklin's only Cup pole. The race Finish is here.
1955 - The Wilkes 160 held at North Wilkesboro Speedway would host this 160 lap race around the .625 mile dirt track (100 miles). It would be the first start for Tom Pistone. He would qualify 28th, but would fall out after only 28 laps with overheating issues. Buck Baker would start on the pole, and lead all 160 laps of the event, beating Lee Petty by just five seconds. The rest of the top five would be Gwyn Staley, Joe Weatherly, and Tim Flock.
1960 - Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds in Richmond, VA would be the site of Speedy Thompson's final win. Ned Jarrett won the pole and Joe Weatherly started outside. Jarrett would lead the first 19 laps before Thompson took over and lead all but eight laps. He won the event by a 1/4 of a lap over Junior Johnson. Jarrett would finish third, Richard Petty fourth and Fred Harb fifth. Thomas would win 20 times in his career.
1994 - With a narrow victory over Rick Mast in the 500-miler at Rockingham, Dale Earnhardt locks up a record-tying seventh NASCAR Cup championship.
1954 - At North Wilkesboro Speedway Hershel McGriff would win his final Cup race. It was the Wilkes 160; a 5/8 mile dirt track in NC. McGriff would start on the pole, but Dick Rathmann would lead the first 82 laps. McGriff would take over the lead on lap 85 and lead until lap 157 when the car of Lou Figaro flipped. At that point the race was ended due to the crash, and McGriff was declared winner. Buck Baker finished second, followed by Herb Thomas, Slick Smith, and Rathmann. Figaro's car rolled over and the roof was crushed in and he was transported to a hospital in Winston-Salem after the crash. He died the next day as a result from a skull fracture and brain damage. Lee Petty would secure his first NASCAR Cup Championship. Petty finishes 283 points ahead of runner-up Herb Thomas.
1962 - Dave Blaney's birthday
1962 - Rookie Dick Hutcherson claims his ninth win of the season at Hillsboro. Hutcherson's feat is the all-time record for race wins during a freshman campaign.
1983 - Brian Vicker's birthday
1993 - The AC Delco 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway would be the site of Jimmy 'Smut' Means last Cup start. Mark Martin won the poles, but would only spend three laps out front all day. Harry Gant, Rusty Wallace, Jimmy Spencer, and Ernie Irvan led most of the laps. But at the end Wallace had the strongest machine. He led 179 of the final 181 laps and beat Dale Earnhardt Sr. by three second for the win. Bill Elliott finished third followed by Gant and Martin. Jimmy Means would start 37th and pilot his machine to a 29th place finish. Couple interesting items about Means. Jimmy ran a car numbered 52 all but 8 times; and he led a grand total of 52 laps in his career. He also led a lap in his first start, and his last start. Means was one of the last great 'independant' drivers in the Cup series. Means got the nickname "smut" because he was always dirty from working on his own cars. This would also be the last top five finish for Harry Gant.
2004 - Travis Kvapil would make his first Cup start here at Martinsville Speedway in the Subway 500. Driving for Roger Penske, the rookie would qualify his car in an impressive fifth position; and would finish on the lead lap, albeit in 21st spot. Also making their first Cup starts were Chad Chaffin, and Mario Gosselin. They finished 39th and 41st respectively. The day was mared by tradegy however as team owner Rick Hendricks company plane crashed in foggy weather at it attempted to land at the local airport. On board was Hendricks son Ricky, also his brother John Hendrick and his two daughters Kimberly and Jennifer; general manager Jeff Turner and chief engine builder Randy Dorton. Also on the plane was Joe Jackson, a DuPont executive; Scott Lathram, a pilot for driver Tony Stewart; and pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison. No one on board survived. NASCAR received word of the plane crash about half way through the race. Hendrick Motorsports won the race as a team victory but after the race was over, NASCAR immediately summoned all the Hendrick Motorsports drivers; including the race winner Jimmie Johnson; to the NASCAR hauler and all victory lane ceremonies were cancelled.
1937 - Ralph Moody's birthday
1959 - Jack Smith wins the 1959 NASCAR Cup finale at Concord, N.C., for his fourth win of the season. Rather than accepting a winner's check for $1,500, Smith elects to take home a new 1960 Ford offered by promoter Bruton Smith. Lee Petty wraps up his third championship over runner-up Cotton Owens.
1961 - Ward Burton's birthday
1964 - On this date Harris Speedway located in Harris, NC would host the first of two Cup races held at this facility. This would be race #60 of the 62 race 1964 series schedule. Billy Wade won the pole and had a strong car, and he led the first 100 laps of the 334 lap event around the 1/3 mile paved track. Wade would have rear end problems and fall out on lap 106. Next, David Pearson would take the lead and hold it until lap 159 when he blew a motor relegating him to a 15th place finish. Richard Petty took advantage of Wade's and Pearson's mechanical issues, assumed the lead, and held it the final 175 laps until the checkered flag flew. Petty beat Ned Jarrett by over a lap to claim the $1,000 winners purse, with Curtis Crider nine laps behind in third. The rest of the top five finishers were Bobby Isaac, and Larry Thomas. Petty would go on to win the 1964 NASCAR Championship.
1987 - Bill Elliott wins the AC Delco 500 at Rockingham as Dale Earnhardt clinches his third NASCAR Cup championship. Earnhardt finishes second and has a 515-point lead in the championship standings with two races left in the season.
1992 - Dave Blaney would make his first Cup start in the AC Delco 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. A World of Outlaws sprint car stand out decided to give Cup racing a try, but had a first first outing. He would qualify 36, but fall out with handling issues after 371 laps finishing 31st. Kyle Petty would win the pole; and when the green flag dropped he showed just how strong his car was. He spanked the field by leading 484 of the 492 laps. Ernie Irvan finished second, followed by Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin.
2009 - Sterling Marlin would make his final career Cup start here at Martinsville Speedway. Marlin would start 38th in his Miccosukee Resorts & Gaming Dodge owned by James Finch. He would run 355 laps before retiring with brake failure. Ryan Newman won the pole, and Jeff Gordon started second. Denny Hamlin and Jimmy Johnson were the class of the field all day. They led a combined 370 of the 500 laps. Johnson was leading on lap 362, when Hamlin passed him and led the final 139 laps to get the win. The race finished under yellow as John Andretti crash on the front straight on the last lap. Juan Pablo Montoya finished third with Kyle Busch, and Jeff Gordon making up the top five. 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrick Cope would also make his final Cup start. Cope would start 43rd, and finish 42nd.
1930 - Jimmy Pardue's birthday
1958 - Lakewood Speedway located in Atlanta, GA. was a one mile dirt track that hosted this 150 lap race. Glen Wood would win the pole for this event while Tiny Lund would start second. Lund would fall out after only 11 laps breaking an axle. Junior Johnson would wheel his 1957 Ford to the win, followed by Fireball Roberts in his 1957 Chevy. The rest of the top five was Lee Petty, Joe Weatherly, and Charlie Mincey. Mincey would only start three Cup events, and this would be his best finish. This would be the final Cup start for Bill Blair. He would start 33rd, and finish 33rd after a blown motor ended his day. For his career Blair would win three events. He would win at Vernon Fairgrounds (NY) in 1950, would also win here at Lakewood Speedway in 1952, and would win on the Daytona Beach and road course in 1953.
1969 - The American 500 would be the 51st and final race of the 1969 Cp season. It was held at North Carolina Motor Speedway, and was the first event after the track was changed to it's current configuration. This wound be the final start for Bobby Johns, and would also be the first start for Lennie Pond driving his 1967 Giachette Brothers Chevy. Johns would start 29th, but blow a motor and finish 27th after running only 183 of the 492 lap event. Pond would start 38th, and after having a motor blow up he would finish 34th. Charlie Glotzbach would wheel his Nichels Engineering Dodge to the pole at a speed of 136 mph. But after leading 80 laps, his motor would expire on lap 281 relegating him to a 23rd place finish. Outside front row starter Bobby Allison would fair even worse as he was involved in a three car crash after only 20 laps. As the race played out, it came down to a battle between LeeRoy Yarbrough, and David Pearson over the last 210 laps. Yarbrough's car was strong as he pulled away from Pearson would win by over a lap. Buddy Baker finished third seven laps in arrears, with Dave Marcis and John sears making up the top five. This would be the first Cup start for Lennie Pond. For his career Johns competed in 141 Cup races; winning twice (Atlanta, and Bristol). He finished third in the points in 1960. He also ran in the NASCAR Convertible series in four races, with a best finish of fourth. Johns ran in two Indy 500's. In 1965 he finished 7th, and in 1969 he finished 10th.
2016 - NASCAR announced new participation guidelines for its three national series Wednesday, limiting the amount of NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Truck Series races that full-time drivers in its premier series will be allowed to compete in, starting in 2017. The new rules parameters will limit Cup Series drivers with more than five years' full-time experience to a maximum of 10 races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and seven events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The new guidelines will also prohibit premier series drivers at that experience level from participating in those two series' final eight events of the year -- a span that includes the regular-season finale and the seven-race Chase playoffs for both circuits. In the case of the Xfinity Series, full-time Cup Series competitors will also be restricted from the four races in the Dash 4 Cash program. The guidelines don't apply to drivers with fewer than five years of full-time premier series experience.
1939 - Richard Brickhouse's birthday
1941 - Dick Trickle's birthday
1957 - Buck Baker wraps up his second straight NASCAR Cup Championship campaign by wheeling his Chevrolet to a win in the 250-lap season finale at Central Carolina Fairground in Greensboro, N.C.
1963 - Orange Speedway located in Hillsboro NC would see Joe Weatherly win his final race. This was race 54 of the 55 race schedule. The race was 167 laps around a 9/10 mile dirt track (150 miles). Weatherly would win the pole, and go on to lead 127 of the 167 laps to get the win by over a lap. The rest of the top five was Bob Welborn, Doug Cooper, Buck Baker, and Curtis Crider. Second place starter Junior Johnson would blow a motor after 104 laps finishing 13th. Weatherly would be killed in a racing accident less than three months later racing at Riverside CA.
1966 - Tommy Baldwin Jr's birthday.
1996 - This date would mark the first Cup win of Bobby Hamilton. The race was held at Phoenix International Raceway. Bobby Labonte won the pole, and Mike Skinner started outside. Mark Martin led the most laps (83), but Hamilton out distanced Martin to the finish line by two seconds. Hamilton was wheeling the STP Pontiac, and returned Petty Enterprises back to victory lane after a win-less streak dating back to 1993. Rounding out the top five was Terry Labonte, Ted Musgrave, and Jeff Gordon. This race would also be the final race for Bobby Allison as a car owner, and the first Cup start for Jack Sprague. Race highlights and review can bee seen here.
1944 - Joe Ruttman's birthday
1951 - Marchbanks Speedway would host it's first Cup race on this date. It was a 1/2 mile dirt track located in Hanford, CA. Danny Weinberg would complete the 200 lap distance first, and claim his only career Cup victory driving his 1951 Studebaker. It would be only the fifth career start for Weinberg. Marvin Panch finished second, with Bill Norton, Lloyd Dane, and Woody Brown making up the top five.
1956 - The Old Dominion 400 held at Martinsville Speedway would be the final start for Frank Mundy. He would qualify 29, but drive his way all the way up to 9th place by the time the checkered flag flew. Buck Baker would put his 1956 Chrysler on the pole at a speed of 67 mph. Baker would never lead the race, as second place starter would grab the lead on the first lap, and lead the first 103 laps. At that time he broke the lug bolts on his right front tire, and was out of the event finishing 35th. Third place starter Speedy Thompson would assume the lead and head the field for the next 75 circuits. With 175 laps to go Jack Smith would pass Marvin Panch for the lead, and never look back. He would go on to beat Panch by 9 seconds. This would be the first of Smith's 21 wins. Bill Amick would finish third, Thompson fourth, and Fireball Roberts fifth. For his career he competed in the American Automobile Association (AAA) stock cars, winning the 1955 National Championship, before the series changed to United States Auto Club (USAC) sanction. He would race 5 seasons in the NASCAR series, and compete in 52 Cup races. He won three times, all three wins coming in 1951 when he finished fifth in the points; behind the wheel of his Studebaker. Mundy also competed in 13 races in the NASCAR Convertible series. In 1956 he race 13 races, winning six of them.
1962 - Atlanta International Raceway would host the Dixie 400, and it prove to be the site of Rex White's last win. Fireball Roberts would win the pole, and Fred Lorenzen would start second in the 267 laps race. Roberts would prove to have the strongest car leading 144 laps. He was leading with just 27 laps to go but must of had some type of issues as he finished 10th, five laps off the pace. Marvin Panch then took the lead, but Rex white drafted Panch to save gas, and was able to bypass him with three laps to go and get the win. In victory lane after the event White said "I didn't out run him; I out raced him". Joe Weatherly would also pass Panch to finish second. Panch finished third, with Richard Petty fourth, and Lorenzen fifth. White would win 28 races, and the Cup championship in 1960. This would be the Cup debut for H.B. Bailey. Rex White talks about his win here.
1989 - On the date we lost Darel Dieringer. Dieringer won seven times in the Cup series, with the first being in 1963, and the last in the Gwyn Staley Memorial 400 in 1967. He earned the title of NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver in 1966. He was also a test driver who in 1965 helped Goodyear to develop the tire inner liner that was to become one of the most important tire safety innovations. Together with Richard Petty, the two gutsy drivers purposely drove over pieces of pipe, sharpened at one end and mounted onto a steel plate at speeds up to 170 mph to test how the car would react. He passed away on this date at the age of 63.
2003 - Pontiac announces it is withdrawing from NASCAR competition, leaving Chevrolet as the lone General Motors make for 2004.
1961 - Joe Weatherly dominates the season finale at Orange Speedway in Hillsboro, N.C., for his ninth win of the season. Ned Jarrett, winner of only one race during the season, claims the NASCAR Cup Championship. Jarrett beats seven-time race winner Rex White was finished second in the championship hunt.
1988 - On this date we lost Herb Nab. (crew chief) Nab led several drivers and teams to success during his career. He led drivers to wins in the World 600 (1963 & 1969); Daytona 500 (1969); Southern 500 (1969 & 1972) and the NASCAR Cup Championship in 1976. He passed away at the age of 61.
1992 - Chris Buescher's birthday.
1960 - Atlanta International Raceway would be the site of Bobby Johns first Cup victory. Fireball Roberts would win the pole, but fall out with a broken axle on lap 34. Jack Smith started second, but also had mechanical issues blowing his motor after 154 laps. Smith had a strong car as he had led 84 laps, and was leading when the motor expired. From that point Johns took the lead and led the final 180 laps. He out ran second place finisher Johnny Allen by over a lap. The top five was rounded out by Jim Paschal, Speedy Thompson, and Rex White. 21 year old LeeRoy Yarbrough would make his first Cup start. He qualified 18th, but the rookie would crash out on lap 60 finishing 33rd. Rex White finishes fifth and is officially declared the 1960 NASCAR Cup Champion.
1966 - The American 500 would be the race that saw Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson make their final Cup starts. Jarrett was competitive right to the end finishing third in his final race. Fred Lorenzen won the pole, and Richard Petty started second. The whole race was led either by Lorenzen or Petty. Richard led 180 laps but he blew a motor and was out of the race on lap 320. Lorenzen led the final 220 laps and drove away to a four lap win. Don White was second, followed by Jarrett, Cale Yarborough, and Junior Johnson. For his career, Jarrett ran in 352 Cup events winning 50 times. He only ran five season full time and competed for the Cup championship. All five seasons he finished in the top five in points. He was the Cup Champion in 1961 and 1965. He also ran in NASCAR's convertible series eight events, winning one event in 1959 at the 1/2 mile dirt track of Charlotte Fairgrounds. Jarrett had a calm demeanor, and was know as "Gentleman Ned". Jarrett was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He won the Myers Brothers Award in 1964, 1965, 1982, and 1983. Also the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Press Hall of Fame, and was a 2011 Inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. As for Johnson career, he won 50 Cup events, but never ran a full season to be competitive for the Cup Championship. As a car owner Johnson was much more successful. He fielded cars for some of the top names on the Cup series. Drivers Darel Dieringer, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Terry Labonte, Geoffrey Bodine, Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer, and Bill Elliott all raced in Junior Johnson equipment. As an owner his drivers collected 139 Cup wins, with Cale Yarborough winning the Cup championship from 1976-1978, and Darrell Waltrip also winning the Championship three time (1981, 1982, and 1985). His number of victories by an owner is third only to Petty Enterprises, and Rick Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson was named as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
2005 - Atlanta Motor Speedway would see Bobby Hamilton make his last Cup start on this date. Hamilton would start 26th in his Dodge, and wide up in 30th position. Ryan Newman won the pole, his sixth in a row at Atlanta. Carl Edwards started outside the front row. Dale Earnhardt Jr seemed to have the dominant car all day, and led 142 of the first 208 laps. He got shuffled to the back, and was never able to recover. Edwards passed teammate Matt Kenseth with 36 laps to go, and went on to claim the win. Jeff Gordon was second, Mart Martin third, Dale Earnhardt fourth, and Kenseth fell back to fifth after leading late. Hamilton broke into the Cup series in an unusual way. He was asked to drive one of the "movie cars" for the 1990 film Days of Thunder, qualifying fifth in a movie car at the 1989 Autoworks 500 in Phoenix, in a car that was not intended to be competitive, but Hamilton qualified and led the race at several points. He was running in the lead pack when he blew a motor late in the race and was done for the day. Hamilton ran in 371 Cup events, winning four times. He ran 86 Xfinity events, but did not get a win. He also ran just three full season in the NASCAR Truck series, and won the championship in 2004. In all he raced the trucks 102 time, and garnered 10 wins. For his career he had over 18 million dollars in earnings. Hamilton announced he had neck cancer in March of 2006. Two months later, Kyle Busch, drove a truck in the NASCAR Truck Series featuring a "throwback" paint scheme visually echoing Hamilton's car from that movie. It was raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2006, in support of Hamilton, who was undergoing his cancer treatment. The name on top of the door on Busch's truck was listed by the nickname "Rowdy Busch" (clearly referencing the Rowdy Burns name on the original car), and Busch won the event. Busch still continues that tribute today in late model and NASCAR racing. Hamilton died of neck cancer on January 7, 2007, at his home in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee with his family by his side. He also died the day before his son's 29th birthday. Reed Sorenson would make his Cup debut in this event.
2016 - This would be Jeff Gordon final NASCAR race. After retiring at the end of the 2015 season; Gordon was asked by car owner Rick Hendrick to come out of retirement and drive the #88 car normally piloted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt had been having issues with dizziness and headaches and he missed the second half of the 2016 season with a concussion and associated side effects. The race would be held at Martinsville Speedway; the site of Gordon's final win the previous year. Martin Truex won the pole as Joey Logano started along side him. Gordon would take the green flag from the tenth starting position. The race was dominated by Truex (led 147 laps) and by Matt Kenseth who led 176 laps. Gordon would never lead a lap but posted a respectable sixth place. Teammate Jimmie Johnson would would claim the checkered hankie as he took the lead away from Denny Hamlin with 92 laps to go and led the rest of the way. Brad Keselowski finished second followed by Hamlin, Kenseth and Kyle Busch.
1965 - North Carolina Motor Speedway originally was a one mile paved track that hosted it's first Cup race on this date. The track was later renamed the North Carolina Speedway, and then renamed it's current name as Rockingham Speedway. In 1969 the track was reconfigured into a high banked oval, slightly over one mile long. The American 500 had a 43 car starting field with Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, David Pearson making up the first three starting spots. Starting up front didn't guarantee a good finish this day. After Petty won the pole, Johnson would be the one to lead the first 45 laps. Petty would crash out after just 58 laps, and Johnson would run just 154 laps before blowing a motor. Pearson also blew a motor before the 1/2 way point. Curtis Turner returns from exile by winning the inaugural American 500. Turner wheels his Wood Brothers Ford to a narrow victory over upstart driver Cale Yarborough. Turner would take the lead the final time with just 27 laps to go. Turner would hold off Yarborough by 11 second to claim the win. Marvin Panch finished third, with GC Spencer, and Jim Paschal fourth and fifth. This race would also mark the final Cup win for Curtis Turner. Turner would only drive part-time for his entire career but would still win 17 times in only 183 starts. One of his wins included the Southern 500 in 1956. In 2004 after 78 race, the highly popular track was removed from the NASCAR schedule. The track stayed active hosting various series through the years, with both owners and fans hoping the NASCAR series would return. In 2012 and 2013 the NASCAR Truck Series returned to Rockingham to run races. It would be a short lived return as after 2013 NASCAR didn't renew their contract to race there any more. As of 2017 the tracks sits in a state of disrepair with no activity.
1982 - North Carolina Motor Speedway would host the Warner Hodgdon American 500, and this would be the final start for Richard Brickhouse. Randy Baker; son of Buck Baker, and brother of Buddy Baker; would make his first career Cup start. Cale Yarborough would win the pole, and Morgan shepherd would start second. From the drop of the green flag; except for one stretch of laps when Harry Gant led 55 consecutive laps, no one driver would lead over 24 laps in a row. Gant was leading on lap 148 when his motor let go. Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Dale Earnhardt Sr, and Richard Petty battled each other for the lead. The race featured 36 lead changes. Yarborough would also suffer a blown motor and fall out on lap 288. The war waged on until Waltrip was able to sweep around Petty with 36 laps to go, and he would claim the win by just nine seconds. Bobby Allison would go on to finish second, followed by Neil Bonnett, Terry Labonte, and Morgan Shepherd. This would be Waltrip's final win driving the Mountain Dew Buick. Randy Baker would start 30th, and finish the race in the 20th position. Brickhouse started 34th and moved up nicely through the field. He suffered an oil leak and fell out on lap 337, finishing 21st. For his career Brickhouse would compete in only 39 Cup event over five years. In 1969 he ran in 24 of the 54 events on the Cup schedule, and claimed his only win at Talladega wheeling his Nichels Engineering Dodge to a seven second victory. This was the first race held at Talladega Speedway.
2004 - Atlanta Motor Speedway would host the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, the race in which Martin Truex Jr made his Cup debut. Truex would qualify 33rd, but blow a motor on lap 259 and finish 37th. Ryan Newman won the pole, with Joe Nemechek starting second. Mark Martin had the strongest car this day as he would lead 227 of the 325 laps. Martin was leading with less than 15 laps to go, when his team mate Greg Biffle was trying to get a lap back. Biffle tried to pass Martin on the bottom, running Martin up the track, and letting Johnson pass Martin for the lead. Martin would run Johnson back down, but Johnson would grab the win by only 2/10 of a second. Carl Edwards finished third, Nemechek fourth, and Kasey Kahne fifth. This would be Edwards first top five finish. The race had 58 entries,so15 cars would not qualify for the race. Two of the cars that did not qualify was full time racers with full time sponsors. They were Scott Wimmer and Scott Riggs. Several part time racers were able to qualify faster then these two; this is what led to the new rule being written that the top 35 in points would automatically make the field every week.